Arkansas State Police Helicopter Targeted by Rifleman; Suspect Apprehended

A generic photo of an Arkansas State Police helicopter
A generic photo of an Arkansas State Police helicopter. Photo source

PANGBURN, Ark. — A tense standoff occurred in Pangburn on Tuesday after a man allegedly aimed a scoped rifle at an Arkansas State Police helicopter, according to the sheriff’s office.

Around noon on August 15, 2023, troopers aboard the helicopter reportedly spotted Jonathan Dewayne Lawson, 53, on Briar Creek Road pointing a rifle in their direction. Lawson then retreated into a nearby residence. Upon their arrival at the scene, deputies and troopers found the house locked and Lawson unresponsive to any communication attempts, a release from the White County Sheriff’s Office said.

Law enforcement officers established a perimeter around the residence, evacuated surrounding homes, and alerted Pangburn Schools to adjust bus routes and pickup procedures for students residing on Briar Creek.

After a two-hour standoff with no response from Lawson, the ASP Troop B summoned their SWAT team. Accompanied by the Crisis Negotiation Team, they engaged in efforts to resolve the situation. At around 4:30 p.m., Lawson surrendered without incident, the release said.

Lawson was taken into custody and transported to the White County Detention Center. He faces a charge of Aggravated Assault, a class D felony. A bond was set at $4,000. Lawson is scheduled for a court appearance before Circuit Court Judge Pate on October 3, 2023, at 9:00 a.m.

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